Senators: Trump’s Interior budget is going nowhere

Senators: Trump’s Interior budget is going nowhere
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Senators of both parties on Tuesday poked holes in President Trump’s budget request for the Interior Department, which cuts funding for the agency by 11 percent. 

During a Tuesday hearing, Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiNew momentum for Equal Rights Amendment Trump pitches new plan to reopen government amid Dem pushback The Memo: Concern over shutdown grows in Trump World MORE (R-Alaska) told Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke that the budget is “better than what we have seen in the last few years,” but that it’s still not going anywhere on Capitol hill.

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"I don't expect many of [the cuts] to become a reality, especially those that target popular programs," Murkowski, the chair of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said. 

Murkowski singled out proposed cuts to a royalty-sharing program for offshore oil drilling, though other senators raised concerns about funding for conservation and outdoor efforts like the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the operations budget at the National Park Service.

“I find the budget so focused on the oil and natural gas aspect of revenue that I think that you are neglecting the fact that the outdoor economy generates $887 billion a year,” Sen. Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellOregon Dem top recipient of 2018 marijuana industry money, study finds GOP seeks health care reboot after 2018 losses Climate movement should focus on winning 2020 presidential election MORE (D-Wash.), the ranking member, said. 

"I want to make sure that we are putting pedal to the metal as it relates to the outdoor economy ”

Zinke told the committee that the $11.7 billion budget prioritizes spending for maintenance while cutting funding for other Interior efforts, including land acquisition.  

“This is what a balanced budget looks like,” he said. “There’s tough decisions throughout, but if we want to balance the budget, this is the starting point for what that looks like.”

Zinke is scheduled to testify twice more on Trump’s budget request this week.